Pellistri's two 'incredible' Uruguayan influences
Manchester United winger Facundo Pellistri has made serious progress in his career for both club and country over the last 12 months.
Pellistri, an October 2020 signing from Penarol, has racked up 14 appearances under Erik ten Hag, the manager who awarded him his Reds debut earlier this year, and he started for the first time in the Champions League at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening.
Facundo also represented Uruguay at the World Cup and continues to be an important member of Marcelo Bielsa’s squad.
The 21-year-old is clearly enjoying the journey he’s on, which began back in his homeland under the guidance of a former Red in Diego Forlan.
Forlan is a legend back in Uruguay, after winning the World Cup's Golden Ball award for best player in 2010, and the ex-United striker had a major impact on our right-winger during his short spell as Penarol boss.
“I remember the day I knew that he was going to be our manager, [it] was an incredible moment,” Pellistri said recently, in the latest episode of our TeamViewer Diaries series.
“He knows a lot about football. He had an incredible career, so he taught me a lot of things. The most important thing that I remember is that after training, we stayed with him, shooting [with] him all the time. He was advising me and other young players that were there.
“And that is the thing that I remember most: all the advice that he gave us.
“And of course, as he was one of the best players, it's very important for us young players to hear all that. He was one of the best.
“Even [after] he had retired, he was one of the best while we did all the training stuff and shooting, he was the best.”
Although Forlan had departed his role with the Montevideo club prior to Pellistri’s transfer, he still played an important part in the move, due to his connections with then-United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“He told me that he spoke with Ole. He was always a team-mate of his. And yes, he was important in the transfer,” Facundo added.
“Also, he spoke to me a lot about Manchester, how good the team is, how big it is. Of course, I already knew a lot of things about that because Manchester, you know it everywhere in the world.
“But, yes, he was very important in everything.”
Pellistri did not feature for the first team under Solskjaer, spending much of the 2020/21 and 2021/22 campaigns with Deportivo Alaves in La Liga.
The young forward did enjoy valuable time with fellow countryman Edinson Cavani before that though, with ‘El Matador’ another helpful Uruguayan influence for Facundo on his journey.
“It was incredible when I knew that Edi was coming here to Manchester, it was much better and easier for me because we speak the same language, [we’re from the] same country.
“I also admired him and it was the first time I met him. I never met him before, so it was here.”